And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
~ Abraham 3:26 ~
Many people wonder, “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?” Our Eternal Father did not send us to earth on an aimless, meaningless journey. He provided for us a plan to follow. He is the author of that plan. It is designed for man’s progress and ultimate salvation and exaltation.
~ Elder L. Tom Perry – The Plan of Salvation – General Conference October 2006 ~
In Word: Matthew 20:20-23 records an interesting and odd request by the mother of the sons of Zebedee (possibly Salome who was the mother of James and John). She comes before the Savior and petitions him a peculiar request. Her desire was for the Savior to consider the possibility of allowing each of her sons to sit with Him in His kingdom. First, the Savior comments that she may not be aware of what she is asking. Second, he asks the question of whether the sons are willing and committed to be baptized as Christ was baptized and to drink from the cup the Savior shall drink from. In this context, the Savior does not deny the mother’s request. He merely establishes the truth that it is His Father that has prepared a place for those whom such a position belongs to.
Throughout the entire Gospel accounts, we read the parables of Jesus. Specifically, as it relates to a wedding ceremony. This is reflective of the symbolism associated with the first century wedding ceremony in Jewish Culture. It is also reflective in the Apostle Paul’s epistles where he likened the Church unto a Bride and Christ as the Bridegroom (See, Ephesians 5:25-27; 2 Corinthians 11:2; and Revelation 21). And most significant is studying through the Gospel of John where we see Christ referencing how he goes and prepares a place for the disciples and those who will follow Him and the teachings he proclaimed (See John 14:2). Revelation also refers to the 24 elders John saw in his vision (See, Revelation 4:4). John further records a wedding feast that takes place (See, Revelation 19:6-9).
In Deed: Our mortal life is a journey through the wilderness where we experience temptation, opposition, increase in knowledge and understanding, and hopefully experience the blessings of not only salvation – the blessings and rewards of exaltation. This is the great plan of Salvation whereby our Heavenly Father brings to pass the immortality and eternal life of each one of us. Attached to this is our liberty and freedom of choice. When we choose to walk in humility, submission, and obedience to the laws and principal doctrines of God’s revealed truth – we shall inherit eternal life. Christ himself said that those who endure as He has endured shall be granted permission to sit on the throne with Him as he sits on the Throne with the Father (See, Revelation 3:21). The Apostle Paul himself remarked to his disciple Timothy that he has fought the good fight and endured to the end and that there is waiting for him a crown of righteousness (See, 2 Timothy 4:7-8).
One parable that helps us understand the importance of mortal life is that of the Talents. We all are given an opportunity in life. Some more than others. Yet, what we do with those opportunities grants us enriching and spiritual blessings when we stand and give an account of what we have done. Unfortunately, there are some who do nothing to invest and will have such blessings removed and given to another (See, Matthew 25:14-30).
Take a Moment and Ponder: Seek wisdom and personal revelation regarding the nature of Christ’s infinite atonement, the blessings of salvation and exaltation within God’s plan of happiness for each one of us and define for yourself what motivates you to commit over to Christ to follow Him. Are you establishing the spiritual disciplines of daily scripture reading and study? Faithful in praying and meditating? Engaged in opportunities of serving others? Fasting for answers and guidance? Our eternal reward is to have glory added upon our heads.
A vibrant and healthy fellowship and community is place where we all are able to come and know we belong. Where there is kindness, empathy, charity, compassion, forgiveness, willingness to be honest, discreet, share with confidence, and keeping in confidence those things we share one with another. All of us are walking our own spiritual paths and experiencing our own spiritual journey – however, it is not meant for us to do so alone. We strive to be complete, unified, and in harmony because of the pure love of Christ.
True discipleship is one of great cost. It requires us to take up our cross and abide in Christ by keeping his commandments (Matthew 16:24-26 and John 15:10).
So, the question stands do we truly know what happened prior to Genesis? From my point of view, studies, discussions, research, and personal revelation – yes, we do know exactly what happened prior to the creation of our world, the purpose behind the fall, and the plan of Salvation and purpose of the infinite atonement.